Aussie shares are under pressure for a third day, with the ASX 200 slipping by 0.7 per cent. While US markets were closed last night to mourn the death of former President George Bush Snr, European equities lost ground as the same concerns lurk in the background. This includes doubts over how close the US and China are to a trade deal while worries over the outlook for the US economy remain. Without a turnaround in the next day, the Aussie sharemarket is on track to lose ground for a fourth straight week.
The market is being held back mostly by the banks and miners at lunch, with BHP Billiton (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and the major financials under pressure at lunch.
Retail trade rose by 0.3 per cent in October which met the market’s expectations. While it does represent only a modest lift, the data is backward looking and the latest consumer confidence survey readings have highlighted quite an upbeat Australian consumer heading into Christmas. JB Hi-Fi (JBH), Harvey Norman (HVN) and Myer (MYR) are all improving by as much as 1.4 per cent.
Stocks traditionally considered as defensive in nature including consumer staples, telcos, utilities and property stocks are standing out.
Asaleo Care (AHY) is up 30 per cent after the consumer care company announced the $180m sale of its tissue business. The deal will include Sorbent, Handee Ultra Paper Towel and Deeko Serviettes to Solaris Paper. AHY expects the sale to boost its profit by $15-$20m.
Primary Health (PRY) has changed its name and code. It now trades as Healius (HLS).
Lynas Corp (LYC) is up 2.4 per cent at lunch. The rare earth minerals company slumped by 22 per cent on Wednesday however after the Malaysian government announced new conditions to licence renewals.
Pendal Group (PDL) is down 4.9 per cent. The group formerly referred to as BT Investment Management is exdividend today for its 30c per share distribution and has a 6.4 per cent dividend yield.
819.9m shares have changed hands so far today worth $1.7bn. 380 stocks are up, 484 down and 342 are unchanged.
Published by CommSec